DIY Advent Calendar Filler Ideas & Small Gifts

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We love the Christmas season and as part of the Christmas fun, we of course adore Advent Calendars. We have done them all over the years – simple chocolate ones for a couple of dollars, toy calendars, stationery calendars, photo calendars and DIY filled Calenders.. and we have loved each one for different reasons. This year, we thought we would put together a list of DIY Advent Calendar Fillers. So you can really make your kids’ advent filled with homemade goodies (and save a few pennies!).

DIY Advent Filler Ideas
A fantastic set of homemade advent calendar gift ideas

Before we head into my detailed list of Advent Calendar Filler Ideas for kids – from small toys, to homemade lip balm and DIY Crayons, I want to share with you our DIY Photo Advent Calendar Idea (as it was received SO well) and DIY Ornament Advent Calendar. I shall keep it brief!!!

How to present your Homade Gift Advent Calendar

With this list of advent calendar filler ideas, I would probably use a “little bag” advent calendar, the paper cup calendar OR our Gingerbread House Printable Box.

DIY Photo advent calendar

As with all advent calendards, you can have a theme.. and of course the theme, very much depends on who you are gifting the advent calendar to! Our Photo calendar was a HUGE success with Granny – especially, since I sent it to her during the pandemic, and it allowed her to feel closer to us in the advent season. It was also an opportunity to reshare photos from years gone by. A wonderful trip down memory lane! I actually did hers very simply – printed a stash of 6 x 4 cm photos, and popped a selection in 24 numbered envelopes. Done. She LOVED it.

DIY Ornament Advent Calendar

Now, I have a TON of DIY Ornament ideas here on Red Ted Art. SOOOO many to choose from, from adorable Walnut Reindeer, to . You can check out TOP ORNAMENTS here. Many of which would be fantastic for a homemade Ornament Advent Calendar. If I was making this theme, I would probably repeat some of the ornaments a 3-4 times, so it has a consistent look to the tree. But it really is a question of personal preference! My top picks would be:

  1. Walnut Penguin
  2. Walnut Reindeer
  3. Felt Hearts
  4. Felt Animals
  5. Felt Reindeer
  6. Nordic Pixie
  7. Pom Pom Fairies
  8. Snowman Corks
  9. Gingerbread Man Corks
  10. Koala Corks

DIY Gifts to add to a children’s Advent Calendar

The main challenge for making Gifts or Advent Calendar Filler Ideas, I find, is SIZE! Especially if you have one of those wooden advent calendar to fill – personally, I prefer small fabric bags.. or why not try our Gingerbread House printable? Most items need to be relatively small, to fit into a set of 24 little bags or boxes. So, I have tried to come up with craft ideas that are small enough to fit and that kids will still enjoy receiving! If you are making an advent calendar for kids, you can add some cute ideas.

I have tried to loosely group the Advent Filler DIYs into themes to help with browsing. But obviously these could have been arranged in many different ways!

Homemade advent calendar gift ideas

Mini Crochet Toy Patterns

free penguin crochet beginners

Penguin Crochet Pattern – these make adorable little toys or Christmas Tree Ornaments. They are quick and easy to make!

Amigurumi Teddy – we love all things Amigurumi (ie small!). Here is a lovely tiny teddy to crochet. (Further down we have some knitted Teddies and bunnies too!).

Kawaii Crochet Hearts (use regular yarn not chenille) – we have some knitted hearts further down too! Crochet Hearts or Yarn Hearts make great pocket friends too, I think!

Pocket Friends and Small Toys

felt bear and bed

Felt Bunny & Bed/ Bear & Bed – these cute felt friends, come with their own little felt bed! Again, the kids and I made these together, but you can of course make your own versions as small gifts!

stone crafts

Matchbox Pocket Friends – love these little rock pets – especially as they come complete with decorated matchbox homes!

Mini Creative Gifts

Matchbox Mini Drawing Set – we had such fun with this mini matchbox “camera” kit. A fun little craft to gift to kids.

star crayon

Crayon Stars – or any recycled crayons – work great as a creative DIY gift. We have made heart shaped ones before, as well these lovely yellow ones. As with many of these crafts – the quality of the original crayon is key. Cheaper crayons, will result in a less good homemade star.

diy stamps

More creative fun – with bottle top lids, corks and a little craft foam – make your very own stamps!

Beauty Advent Filler Ideas

Beauty products are perfect advent calendar filler ideas for tweens or teens. In fact you can get teenagers making some of these for their friends after they have received their own in their advent calendar and have had a chance to test them out themselves!

Bath Bombs are always a winner.. and you can make them any shape you like. As well as add fun extras such as lavendar, essential oils, or even (food) sprinkles (instead of less environmentally friendly glitter). You can also have a go at making bath salts and pop them into small paper bags.

Lip Balm is also fun to make and you can take some time decorating the boxes. We did ours when the kids where young, but you can of course add more “grown up” covers.

How to make a scrunchie

Some DIY Hair Accessories are always great too! Like some fun DIY Scrunchies or…

…flower hair slides (I don’t have a tutorial for these, but it is really just some basic felt shapes and buttons sewn onto a hair a clip).

Fairy themed ideas

Mini Walnut Fairy House

Walnut Fairy Houses – I like making small toys for the kids. How sweet are these mini walnut fairy houses?

Polymer clay acorn tea set – or how about this acorn tea set? We played with this for years!! So cute and fun and perfect for a fairy house set up or dolls house!

Whilst on the topic of fairies or maybe Kindness Elves.. how about a Matchbox Mail Box + Fairy Letter Printables? If making in the US, make your mail box in yellow.. for UK readers, a red mail box is appropriate! Love the mini letters and envelopes too!

pipe cleaner pixies

Mini Fairy Dolls/ Pixies – this little pixie makes a lovely Christmas decoration too. It is really easy to make and looks so cute!

Some Mini Knitting Patterns

Knitted Mini Hat Pattern

Knitted mini hats (mine just “wanted” these, but they make adorable Christmas ornaments or backpack charms – simply had some yarn for hanging!)

Knit a bunny and a bear

Mini Teddy and Mini Bunny Knitting Pattern (so cute).

Mermaid Knitting Pattern for beginners

Mini Mermaid Knitting Pattern – these little mermaids come with removable mermaid tails. So sweet! Love the colourful long mermaid hair too. Simpy “unravel” regular yarn to create the wave hair effect!

2 knitted hearts and knitting needles

Knitted Hearts – make these with cute kawaii faces (as per the crochet hearts above) as pocket friends, use these as Tree Ornaments/ Christmmas Decor or add some beads and yarn to make gorgeous knitted heart bookmarks! One pattern, lots of applications!

Some Harry Potter Mini Gifts to make

A little section for Harry Potter fans – Harry Potter always makes for some great Christmas Movie watching too – so why not add some wizardy DIY filler ideas too! Here are our miniature Harry Potter DIYs, but of course the Harry Potter DIY Wands are always popular too. So I thought, I would sneak them a mention!

Harry Potter Mini Books (with printable)

Harry Potter Potions Book (could also be used as adorbale Christmas Decor for the tree – simply add a ribbon and hang!)

Mini Snitch Pen (that actually works!) to go with your mini books

Other Christmas Advent Calendar Fillers

I wasn’t quite sure what “group” to pop these in.. so they have an “other” Advent Filler Ideas section to their own!

cute rudolph ornament

Felt Reindeer Brooch – we love these little felt reindeer – make them either as a cute brooch to accessories for the Christmas Holiday Season or make them as felt ornaments. Who doesn’t love a cute Christmas Decoration?

Loomband Bouncy Balls – if you still have a pile of loombands (or any elastic bands for that matter), you can make your own fun elastic band bouncy balls! A great “stationery item” OR bouncy ball toy!

Filling the remaining Advent Calendar Windows

For this section, I also have a couple of simple ideas you can add if you have any “spaces” to fill and need a couple of extra advent calendar gift ideas – don’t be too hard on yourself by insisting that EVERYTHING has to be a small homemade gift… the following is always appreciated too:

  • Add some hot chocolate satchets
  • Add some movie tickets to watch something during the holiday season
  • Add some coupons – such “a day out with mom”, “make some Christmas cookies”, or “go Christmas window looking” or “explore Christmas lights” and do a Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt etc
  • Add some Random Acts of Kindness challenges (e.g. the make some Christmas cookies and gifting to a fire station, would work wonderfully)
  • Add some Christmas stickers or temporary tattoos
  • Add some candy canes, chocolate coins or other sweet treats!

I hope you are ready for a fun Christmas Countdown with this collection of DIY Advent Calendar Ideas!! Remember, you don’t have to make ALL of these before the 1st Decemeber, you can always make and fill some of the later advent calendar days as you go throughout the month of December!

As mentioned – we love love love Christmas Decorations – and have a set of favourite Handmade Christmas Ornaments for you to browse too:

Handmade Christmas Ornaments